Category: News


gov shutdown

Part I – Developing a Competitive Brand That Can Always Win

The recent federal government shutdown fiasco got me thinking about how personal brands are also often at risk for shutdowns due to a variety of internal and external factors. Without delving into political details or assigning specific blame to any one person or party, I think most people agree that even with the recent temporary reopening, our current government is broken. Neither side is really “winning” these days.

Politicians may manage to survive this kind of negative event, but your brand cannot. The turmoil plaguing Washington, D.C, is also plaguing our business and social sectors, so you must ensure that your brand is competitive enough to win no matter how treacherous the playing field becomes. Let’s quickly review a few key lessons about competitive, winning brand-building that can be gleaned from the most recent federal government shutdown.

Strength through Compromise

In an effort to appear “strong,” many politicians in both major parties have adopted an attitude that compromise is a sign of weakness and the only way to win is to bullheadedly advance your own agenda and beliefs, never even considering making a tradeoff in a deal to achieve a greater goal.

One look at the approval ratings of the current Congress should tell you how much respect such “strong” posturing generates. If you refuse to compromise, your brand will be seen as inflexible and stagnant, not fresh and powerful. Obviously when negotiating for a position, promotion or assignment you want to put your best foot forward and obtain your maximum advantage, but not at the expense of alienating the people you are dealing with. The key to brand success is developing repeat customers who buy your brand on a regular basis because it becomes a hallmark of quality, not strong-arming people into one-time purchases that result in a bad case of “buyer’s remorse.”

You Don’t Have All the Answers

Politicians these days like to tell voters they (and their parties) have every answer to every problem that could possibly arise, and there is no chance an opponent could have even one good solution. This system of belief is just as false in business as it is in politics, and will shut your brand down as quickly as it shut down the federal government.

A winning brand is based on projecting an image of confidence, competence and authority in your area of branded expertise. However, left unchecked this image can extend into arrogance if you take the attitude that you are the only one with any “real” authority in your branded area of expertise. A true professional is dedicated to always learning more, which requires having open ears and an open mind. People want answers, but don’t want them shoved down their throat.

Make Yourself Look Good, Not the Other Guy Look Bad

“Mudslinging,” or focusing on your opponents’ flaws rather than your own strengths, is nothing new in politics. But it has gotten particularly nasty as of late and was in full evidence during the shutdown. Politicians going out of their way to make their opponents look bad hardly greases the wheels of government, and going out of your way to make your brand’s opponents look bad will not grease the wheels of your career.

It is surely tempting when trying to win a job, promotion or client to bring up the perceived or real flaws of whomever else may be competing for the same end goal. Don’t do it. Focus on how good you are and how much value your brand delivers. Anything else makes you (and your brand) look petty and also creates clouds of confusion and mistrust that will obscure the advancement of your brand as much or more as it impedes the brands of your competitors.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

nami

 

By accentuating their natural skills and strengths, leaders can stand out and put themselves on the fast track for senior-level leadership roles that will enable them to achieve all of their hopes, goals, and dreams.

The alternative is to become a “generic” leader, a basic manager who does not stand out in any way. In today’s fast-paced and ultracompetitive economy, generic leaders are rapidly on their way to becoming extinct — “average” is the new unemployed and good is the new average. By following the principles of Fresh PASSION, a methodology I created of developing a personal brand that leads to exponential personal, professional, and economic success, you can learn how to become great, and therefore put yourself in a position to obtain a senior leadership position that will deliver maximum personal, professional, and economic success.

Companies, organizations, and customers all expect more from their everyday employees, and particularly from their leaders. They want an experience that is more value-adding than the competition and fulfills a particular need, want, or desire.

So if they see you as a “generic” leader, you’re in trouble. You’ve seen generic brands, the “no-name” products that usually sit low on the supermarket shelves. For the most part they’re not that different from the costlier name brands that are placed directly at eye level and are often made by the very same companies! But generic products typically sit on the shelves for a long period of time, only picked up by someone looking for a short-term bargain. People expect to and do pay less for generic!

Guess what? People can be generic, too. In today’s competitive world, you’re either a distinct and competitive brand or an extinct generic. In order to prosper as a senior leader you must become a distinct and competitive personal brand.

Click here to read the full article.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

pope

 

I’m writing this just after the conclave of cardinals announced the successor toPope Benedict XVI, who last month became the first modern-day pontiff to abdicate the throne. They charted some new ground, choosing 76-year-old Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first non-European to fill the role in more than 1,200 years and the first ever from the Jesuit order. But in other ways, it was a vote to preserve the status quo, as Bergoglio, who has chosen to be called Francis, is a theological conservative.

But in addition to that, Pope Francis will need some rock-solid branding skills. He’ll have to have a strong personal brand, a vision for the church’s brand in the 2010s and beyond, and an understanding of how outside forces might conspire to brand him.

My fellow Forbes contributor George Bradt, a leadership-development expert and the co-author of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan,recently offered some interesting insights in his column about what the new pope can learn from past leaders: “Now the church is at a turning point and the new Pope must do his part to complete its cultural change,” he explained in his introduction. The last time this was so was in 1958, when Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli became Pope John XXIII. One of his first acts was, says Bradt, “to call the Second Vatican Council ‘to open the windows of the Church to let in some fresh air.’”

That’s a good start but a little vague. The new pope’s personal brand needs to assert that he’s someone suited to fostering changes in environment, values, attitudes, relationships and behaviors. “Given the new environment,” Bradt wrote, “the re-commitment to core values and the new attitude, strengthening relationships by strengthening communication, encouraging more in-depth debate and tackling conflict is critical to making Vatican II’s intended changes real and sustainable.”

Although Bradt concluded by stating that achieving meaningful culture change is a marathon not a sprint, Romy Ribitzky at Upstart Business Journal argued an opposite point, that Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation “jolt[ed] the Church into Catholic 2.0” and “forced the Church to confront his departure in an entrepreneurial fashion.”

His stepping down, she continued, “forced the ancient institution to do what every startup has been doing for generations: adapt or fade.” It also reinforced his own personal brand with some “‘steel’ in his spine, humility, humanity and making the unconventional decision,’” as Ribitzky quoted career consultant Michael D. Brown. “‘You can’t give 100 percent of something you are not passionate about—it’s best to move on a connect back to your passion.’”

Click here to read the full article

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

Michael got caught talking about The Pope- OMG!

“Thank you for your friendship and for your affection,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his final address Thursday. “I am no longer the pope.”

At 85 years old, he may not seem like the most entrepreneurial of men, and yet Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has become the most upstart figure in the Catholic Church. His decision, announced February 11, to step down due to his advanced age, shocked believers and Papal officials. But it also forced the ancient institution to do what every startup has been doing for generations: adapt or fade.

Career consultant Michael D. Brown applauds the pope emeritus’ move. “I applaud him for having some “steel” in his spine, humility, humanity and making the unconventional decision. I think this will pave the way for other clergy to fill OK with stepping aside when they feel it is no longer something they can be passionate about or give 100 percent. You can’t give 100 percent of something you are not passionate about—it’s best to move on a connect back to your passion.”

Click here to read the full article

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

 

A couple of weeks ago I laid out 13 tips for wrapping up 2012 and preparing for the new year at work. My expert sources suggested that you complete outstanding projects; establish new goals; reflect on accomplishments; get organized; and tie up loose ends–among other things.

Now, as you return to the office in 2013, there are a few things you can do to ensure you start the year off right.

forbes“A new year is a brand new beginning,” says Anna Sidana, VP of marketing at Simply Hired. “If we take the time to step back from our day-to-day and hit reset, it is a chance to look ahead with a new perspective and make every day count.”

She suggests you take a moment to reflect on your life–both professional and personal–and kick off the new year with renewed energy and a fresh focus. “Close out any small, nagging projects and focus on the big ones that can accelerate your career. Reach out to colleagues and strengthen those dusty relationships. A new year offers this unique opportunity to step up the game and become laser focused.”

Michael D. Brown, a career consultant, author, and motivational speaker, adds: “In this continuing economic tsunami of 2013, you must be clearly purposed and focused on success with a well-defined and proven game plan to transition yourself from a generic to a fresh and powerful personal brand,” he says. Companies and organizations can no longer afford to invest in generic employees with anemic or non-existent ROIs; and they’re not able to be competitive if they don’t have a fresh, branded and competitive workforce.

“The best success navigation plan you can have is to turn yourself into a clear, compelling, and competitive personal brand,” Brown says. “You can’t wait to do this in August; you must do this now. As such, you will be seen as someone who can add and deliver value in these turbulent times.”

Click here to read the full article.

Greed Is Not Good – Fresh PASSION Is Much Better!

In the classic 1980s film “Wall Street,” the ruthless financial tycoon Gordon Gekko memorably states, “Greed is good.” As anyone who has seen “Wall Street” knows, Gekko ultimately winds up in disgrace, exposing the fallacy of these words. I don’t know if today’s real Wall Street titans have seen the film, but perhaps a special screening should be arranged.

Every time you turn on the news, it seems there is another report of a Wall Street institution that has accepted millions or even billions of dollars in federal bailout funds spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars on things like Super Bowl luxury suites, lavish executive retreats, corporate jets, and seven-figure executive bonuses. Rather than pump this money back into the general economy through loans or investments, many Wall Street firms seem content to hoard it for selfish uses. This type of short-sighted greed is the antithesis of everything Fresh PASSION stands for.

Fresh PASSION ® (a phrase coined and trademarked by Michael D. Brown in his signature work Get a Brand or Die a Generic ®) is all about finding what you truly love and are best at doing, and then totally applying yourself to succeeding at it. The “A” in PASSION stands for “Aspiration,” but aspiration and greed are two very different concepts. Aspiration means having particular ambitions and then setting out to achieve your goals. Greed means blindly pursuing personal gain without any thought to the broader impact of your actions.

Beyond any ethical considerations, greed is also a poor long-term business strategy. In the short term, greedy people and corporations often do achieve success. But keep in mind that everything you do and say becomes part of your personal brand. Build your brand through lying, cheating and stealing and eventually you’ll be surrounded by liars, cheaters and thieves – not the kind of colleagues who can take you very far!

Wall Street firms who greedily squander bailout money will soon find themselves looking for more handouts from a decidedly less sympathetic federal government. Wall Street firms who use bailout money to help jumpstart the economy will profit from loan and investment interest, as well as build a positive brand reputation. Which firms are better positioning themselves for long-term success? If you honestly aren’t sure, maybe it’s time to rent a copy of “Wall Street” – all you really need to watch is the final scene.

www.TheMichaelDBrown.com

Is this a precursor to what will happen at other companies in the financial sector? The economy is showing no immediate signs of improving. Citigroup has posted four straight quarterly losses. Not only are they cutting jobs, they stated that expenses will be lowered by 20 percent and assets will be reduced by more than 20 percent.

What advice would you give to the thousands of employees who will loose their job?

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billion bailout. In exchange for the loan, we the taxpayers would get an ownership stake in the automakers. Sounds simple, and it’s almost a no-brainer considering the havoc that will be wreaked on the economy if the big three went under.

As each day passes, the lame-duck congress is becoming more sharply divided on whether to give or not to give a $25 billion loan.

With thousands of people losing their jobs every week and retail sales hitting an all time decline, this could be the nail in the coffin if these three automakers have to shut their doors and lay people off.

This will not only affect the people who work at the big three, but the companies that depend on the spending that is derived from these employees.

Do you think the government should bailout the three automakers?

www.TheMichaelDBrown.com

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, more companies are suspending their 401(k) match. A challenging economy is often cited as the reason for this decision.

The alarm bells went off last week when GM stopped their 401(k) match in order to conserve cash and survive this downturn/recession. I don’t think it will be long before more companies take GM’s lead and eliminate their match as well.

Prior to GM Goodyear, Frontier Airlines, Cushman & Wakefield, Entercom and Dollar Thrifty made the decision to cut their match.

Do you think this will hurt morale and decrease productivity?

www.TheMichaelDBrown.com

I had the privilege of hearing Steve Pavlina speak two years ago at a NSA conference and have been following his work every since and invested in one of his services. Steve possesses a rare authentic voice on personal development. His new book Personal Development for smart people hit the shelves this week (you have to get a copy).

What you will find in Steve’s book is a simplistic and powerful road map to maximizing your personal growth. He lays out seven straightforward principles: Truth, love, power, Oneness, Authority, Courage, and Intelligence.

The two principals that really hit home with me were truth and love. So often we go through life in denial and lying to ourselves about what we really want to extract from life and the success we want to experience. Instead we opt to force ourselves into a box of someone else’s perception and plans. The second principal of love also struck an accord with me. So much of our success is limited or never happens because we try to travel this journey alone and down a selfish path. The amazing impossible can be achieved when you align yourself with a truly supportive network of people that you are willing to receive from and give even more. I personally call this group my Branding Board of Advisors. This board of friends and supporters help and challenge me to create my best personal brand, which allows me to maximize my success.

Personal development for smart people (Steve Pavlina) helped me to further validate a core belief of mine- In order to achieve maximum personal or professional success you must be willing to truly work hard, have a laser focus on your self discipline and the courage to be different, think different, see different, and take risk.

Be skeptical of any book, person or guru who tells you that you can achieve substantial personal growth and success without some combination of the above. Instead, I would recommend you get a copy of Steve’s book Personal development for smart people.

Another reason why I have really enjoyed this book is because it aligns with many of the principles I talk about in my signature work: Fresh Passion (Get a Brand or Die a Generic ®). Which basically challenges us to really figure out the competitive personal brand that we want to be and work hard to make it a stand out brand that will yield the personal and professional success that we desire.

www.TheMichaelDBrown.com